The Importance of a Multi-Party eSignature Solution in Banking
By Leor Melamedov
When it comes to banking transactions, it’s often necessary to collect wet signatures or eSignatures from two or more parties. With retail banking, this is especially common for spouses who share a bank account. With commercial banking, the need arises when businesses, nonprofits, or other organizations require consent from several account holders.
The requirement of multiple signatures typically increases the turnaround time of any given transaction. But with the right multi-party eSignature solution, many people can sign instantly from any location – making it possible to complete agreements quickly while remaining compliant.
The burden of collecting multiple esignatures
Whether banking customers are opening a new account, or taking out a loan or mortgage, the existence of multiple account holders is notorious for slowing down processes. Customers are frustrated by a lack of digitization when dealing with their banks, and having multiple parties involved in the process only exacerbates this frustration. According to a recent Lightico study, over half of customers have been bounced from an online interaction to a physical branch.
This slows the pace of business and is unacceptable to customers, who are now accustomed to receiving instant digital services provided by companies such as Netflix and Amazon.
A bank’s lack of sufficiently digital customer journeys is difficult enough for individual customers. But when you add multiple parties to the mixture, all with different schedules and obligations, you are looking at an especially complex and time-consuming process.
Take for example Happy State Bank, a regional bank based in Texas. Happy State offers services for both commercial and retail customers, and found itself struggling to collect signatures efficiently from the many churches and nonprofits who try to open an account with them.
Their average turnaround time for retail account openings requiring multiple signatures was seven days. For commercial account openings requiring multiple signatures, turnaround time stood at a whopping 30 days.
Worst of all, Happy State Bank saw customers dropping out of the account opening process altogether due to the difficulty of the process. They are certainly not the only bank experiencing lost prospects due to insufficient digitization surrounding multi-signature collection.
Considering that the average banking customer lifetime value is $45,600 (for an average customer lifespan of eight years), these lost opportunities add up.
Even customers who eventually do get through the time-consuming signature process may be left with a bad taste in their mouth. A Lightico study found that 42% of customers would consider leaving their bank because of poor customer experiences like this. After all, if it’s so difficult simply to open an account, what does that suggest about the rest of the bank’s services?
How multi-party eSignatures can slash turnaround times
Whether banks are interacting with spouses who are interested in taking out a mortgage or loan, or businesses that wish to open a new account, multiple parties require a robust digital option to approve contracts or documents.
While it could take days or weeks until all parties are able to show up at the bank at the same time to review and provide signatures, a multi-sign solution allows everyone to sign from the comfort of their own home or office, without setting foot in a bank.
However, not any electronic signature will do. Sending out documents to be signed via email to crowded inboxes and chasing the parties involved drags the process out. Furthermore, once signatories are ready to sign, they may have questions that cannot be readily answered.
Choosing a multi-party eSignature solution
First-generation multi-party eSignatures may be a step up from requiring multiple people to provide wet signatures. But they aren’t sufficient to meet the needs of today’s on-the-go consumers with high expectations for speedy transactions.
On the other hand, an instant and collaborative multi-party eSignature solution sent to customers’ mobile phones ensures that signature requests don’t get lost or forgotten. Rather than wait till they get to a desktop computer, customers can effortlessly provide their signature wherever they are. The most advanced multi-party eSignature solutions can also send reminders to signatories and update the status of everyone’s signature, ensuring nothing gets overlooked.
The business impact of the right multi-party eSignature solution
With this criteria in mind, Happy State Bank was very aware of the need to choose a multi-party eSign solution that was intuitive, instant, and easy to use for all their customers – including older or less tech-savvy individuals. After careful research and comparison, Happy State Bank decided Lightico was the optimal choice for them.
Their team was delighted by the ability to send a text message link to account holders or prospects, which would allow them to instantly fill out and sign documents, and provide supporting ID and documents from their mobile phones without setting foot into the branch.
Customers were also excited by the easy multisign process, and relieved at not having to collect multiple signatures on physical documents. Even elderly customers found the process easy and intuitive.
As a result of transitioning to Lightico’s mutisign solution, Happy State Bank’s completion rates shot up to 90%. Average turnaround time for retail account openings shrunk to a mere 45 minutes, and for commercial accounts down to seven days.
The bottom line
Banks suffering from long turnaround times and lost prospects due to requirements for multiple signatures would benefit from a mobile multi-party eSignature solution. It eliminates chasing customers, delivers a seamless and location-independent customer experience, and ensures compliance through a digital audit trail. Multiple account holders shouldn’t be a barrier to business, and with the right multi-party solution, it won’t be.
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